Syngenta’s Stormtroopers

When the pesticide industry takes its gloves off, people get hurt. Below is a press release from Via Campesina about a recent killing by men with guns hired by Syngenta in response to a protest against genetically modified food.

To write to the authorities condemning this brutal attack, see the Food First Urgent Action (scroll down past the Michael Pollan article…



Attack of Syngenta?s armed militia results in deaths and wounded in Brazil

During an attack of an armed militia with around 40 gunmen on the peasant? camp at the experimental field trial of Syngenta Seeds multinational, at Santa Teresa do Oeste, at 13:30h of today (October 21st), a Via Campesina member, Valmir Motta, 32 years old, father of 3 children, was executed with two shots to his chest. Other six rural workers are severely wounded and a gunmen was possibly killed.

The wounded: Gentil Couto Viera, Jonas Gomes de Queiroz, Domingos Barretos, Izabel Nascimento de Souza e Hudson Cardin, were taken to hospital in the region. Izabel (a woman) is in coma and in critical condition.

The Syngenta? field trial was occupied this morning (21/10) by about one hundred and fifty peasants from Via Campesina. The field trial was occupied by peasant families in March 2006, to denounce to public authorities and civil society the illegal reproduction by Syngenta of GMO soy and maize seeds in the area.

After sixteen months of resistance, on July 18th of this year, the seventy families left the area, moving to a provisional settlement ?Olga Benário?, also at Santa Tereza do Oeste municipality.

Today, during the re-occupation of the area, rural workers lit fireworks and the security guards fled. Around 13:30 a micro-bus stopped in front of the main entrance and a militia of about 40 gunmen heavily armed got off the bus shooting towards the peasants. The gunmen broke the front porch, executed Valmir Motta with two shots to his chest, shot other 5 peasants and beat Isabel do Nascimento de Souza.

Syngenta has been hiring security mercenaries in that region, according to by the Rural Society of the West Region (Sociedade Rural da Região Oeste, SRO) and the Movement of Rural Producers (Movimento dos Produtores Rurais, MPR). One of the directors of the security services company named ?NF? was arrested and the owner escaped during a Federal Police operation earlier this month, when ammunition and firearms were discovered.

There is evidence showing that the company is hired as a façade and when is time to the operations, they illegally hire more security men, forming an armed militia that works doing violent evictions and attacks to landless peasant camps on that region. On last Thursday (18), the armed militia?’s actions were denounced by the SRO/MPR. Actions against Syngenta in the Western region were re-enforced during a public hearing, coordinated by the Human Rights and Minorities Comission of the Federal House of Deputies, held at Curitiba city.

Via Campesina demands that the authorities investigate the attack against rural workers of the camp, who, together with families at the Olga Benário settlement, are still struggling to turn the field trial into a Center for Agroecology and to transform the multiplication of criolla seeds into family farms.

The residents at the Olga Benário settlement, which borders with Syngenta?s field trial, are also against GMOs experiments in that area as it will contaminate their production of criolla seeds and will cause damages to their food, health and environment.

Via Campesina

Information to the press:

55(41) 84119794 – Solange
55 (41) 9676 5239 – Jakeline
55 (41) 3324 7000